Cinnamon Toast, a Cup of Tea and Little Pearls of Wisdom

Heaven welcomed a beautiful woman this week and a true prayer warrior in the spiritual battles of earth.  Wanda Mae Frink went home to be with the Lord after 91 years of loving and serving Him.  She will be sorely missed by her family and all those who loved her.  Her intercession for all of us on her prayer lists will be missed as well.  I know she faithfully prayed for Bob and me and our children for decades, even after moving a thousand miles away.

 I can only imagine the reunions that took place on Heaven’s shores this week!  Mrs. Frink had so longed for Heaven for many years.  Her husband, Pastor James Frink, passed away almost thirty-four years ago. Two daughters, Carol and Ruth, were waiting for her there, also, as well as two beloved grandchildren, Debbie and Eric, brothers and parents.  I could not be sad to see her slip away for I know her greatest joy of all was to see Jesus Himself! 

 The reunions here on earth this week were sweet as well.  The family brought her back here to Hessville Baptist Church for the funeral and to be buried next to her husband.  She had five children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  To see them all gathered together, along with many from the church who loved and revered her, to honor her was sweet and nostalgic for me, for I was close to the Frink family in my youth and even on into my adult years.  It was a blessing to reconnect with them, most of whom I had not seen for some years.   The love they showed me, even from the younger generation, when I was there to support them made me feel special and honored.  How like their mother and grandmother to reach out and love others before self!

 Mrs. Frink was my pastor’s wife for almost twenty-five years.  Her youngest daughter, Ruthie, was my best childhood friend from the time she was five and I was six until she passed away two years ago.  I spent many a Sunday afternoon, many a Friday night and Saturday having sleepovers with Ruth.  Older brother Jimmy and his friends teased and tormented us.  Big sisters Mary and Betty pretty much ignored us (until we all grew up and became dear friends as well.)  Pastor Frink would give us nickels and dimes to go to the candy store.  And Mrs. Frink in her sweet, gentle ways welcomed me always and made me feel like one of her children.

 The kitchen in the parsonage was tiny and crowded when more than two people tried to work, but it was there that I remember Mrs. Frink standing at the sink washing dishes while Ruthie and I dried as she would talk to us and try to teach us good things about the Lord and His Word.  Ruth liked to tease her mom and I can still hear her soft, little laugh—often laughing at herself.

Mrs. Frink was like that.  She was quiet and soft-spoken; never, ever pushy or drawing attention to herself.  To this day, whenever I read I Peter 3:3, 4 I think of Mrs. Frink, for she exemplified it in her life.  “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”  When I think of a gentle woman, I think of Mrs. Frink, and I often wished as a young pastor’s wife that I had more of her soft-spoken, gentle ways about me.

The last little pearl of wisdom she passed on to me I will remember always.  Bob and I were just starting out on deputation to raise our support as home missionaries and Mrs. Frink stopped me one morning after church.  “Cindy, I will be praying for you!” she said.  (I knew she would!) “As you go into the ministry never be afraid to open your home to others.  Even if you have no money and can’t afford to offer them more than a cup of tea and cinnamon toast, it is the fellowship that counts, not your home or the meal.  They want and need your fellowship.”  It was a simple bit of advice, but I have always kept it tucked away and been encouraged to be hospitable regardless of our circumstances.

Mrs. Frink was influential in many lives, although perhaps she would be the last to say so.  One friend told me, “I always thought of her as my spiritual mother for she was the one who led me to the Lord.”  Many others said, “I always knew she was praying for me.”  She was the example of the sweet, submissive, supportive pastor’s wife that I wanted to be.  Even after I grew up, I and almost everyone I knew called her “Mrs. Frink” rather than Wanda, which in some ways might seem strange since there is no one else that I still address that way.  She certainly was never stuffy or proud or unapproachable.  I think, perhaps, it is because of the respect, even reverence, we’ve all always had for her.  

I think often of the influence we have on the lives of others.  Rest assured—our lives do cast a shadow of influence all around us and touch every life with whom we come in contact, either for good or bad.  I am sure among the reunions Mrs. Frink is enjoying in Heaven today, there is a long line of people who are standing in line to tell her how she influenced them for the Lord and to thank her for her life’s testimony.

The Apostle Paul recognized the influence women can have for the Lord on others.  He said in his letter to Titus, “The aged women likewise [be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience – vs 2],   that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  (Titus 2:3-5)  He reminded Timothy of the godly influence of his mother and grandmother when he wrote, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (II Timothy 1:5) 

Paul exhorts us all—men and women—to “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”  (I Corinthians 11:1)  Actually, the New American Standard Bible uses the word “imitator.”  He was following Christ, being an imitator of Christ, and he prayed his influence would cause others to follow and be imitators of Christ as well.  He said in Philippians 3:17 and 4:9, “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example…Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” (NLT)  As Christ influenced and set the example for him, he wanted his fellow believers to be influenced by his example.  We then, in turn, are to go on and influence others.

It is a blessing when we hear before our funeral service, how our life or our example has influenced someone’s life for the Lord.  Several people came up to Bob at the funeral home, and again later at the church the next day to me, to say how his life and testimony had made a difference in their lives or touched them somehow.  I know he felt humbled and grateful to hear those heartfelt words.  I am sure many people over the years said similar things to Mrs. Frink. 

This morning, as I have cinnamon toast for breakfast in honor of Mrs. Frink, I am reminded to be sure to take the time and effort to tell the people who have influenced me for the Lord how much I appreciate and love them for their care for me, for their wisdom or their godly example.  I am reminded, as well, that every day there are people all around me who hear the words of my mouth, see my actions and are watching my life.  Do they see me imitating Christ?  Are they encouraged to follow Him because of what they see in me? Are have I been a bad influence?  May I leave a legacy behind that will have people lining up at my funeral and on Heaven’s shores itself to say, “She touched my life for Jesus!”

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